Are North Korea’s “World Cup Fans” Hired Chinese Actors?

korea-fans415Many of the strangest aspects of this year’s World Cup relate to team North Korea. The latest intrigue: were the throngs of “North Korean soccer fans” filling stands in the match against Brazil actually Chinese actors? The London Evening Standard writes:

Perhaps it was their identical red outfits or how their applause was directed by a “conductor” that suggested the North Koreans in the Ellis Park stadium in South Africa were no ordinary fans. FIFA officials and millions of television viewers were surprised when rows of red-clad “North Koreans” took their seats, believing the harsh regime had allowed its citizens freedom to travel.

Although they sang their national anthem loudly, the group tended only to cheer when directed by a man who stood before them like an orchestra’s conductor.

Meanwhile, another party of fans confirmed rumors they were Chinese, having obtained tickets through a Chinese sports PR agency, authorized to sell part of the North Korean allocation of 1,400 seats.

Dubbed the “fans volunteer army”, they included dancers, musicians and other artists and said they were happy to don the North Korean national colors.

One Brazilian fan said: “I spoke with them. They had come from Beijing and knew nothing about football or the World Cup. They said they were supporting their Communist cousins and were happy to be there.”

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  • Susan

    Another example of how totally weird and bizarre the leader of N. Korea is.

  • Dante

    What. The. Hell. (?)

    I really don't see the point at all.
    How much would this have cost? What makes it worth it? Why does he want people to think he never has to go to the bathroom?

  • http://twitter.com/1D4TW Maximilian Forte

    Nothing weird and bizarre about this at all, if you understand the meaning of soft power, it is very clever. It could also be seen as the political answer to Dutch ambush marketing, also seen at this World Cup. Does that make the head of the Bavaria beer company an insane monster?

    • http://twitter.com/1D4TW Maximilian Forte

      Damn it, I answered my own question, in the affirmative, I just realized.

  • Yang_li1765

    I see and agree that they are there. It is good and solid performance when they are there for 'World Cup' which does not always have all 'World' there! In my country we not allowed to enter World Cup unless we win too many game, more than Australia and United Kingdoms. We need to support these men who fly over from China country (or boat from China country) because they support the game and buy food and drink and possibly smokes. Thank you.

    • Walter_Park11

      Where exactly are you from Yang Li? I am confused by your comments about coming by boat from China country? I am not sure if you are in fact mocking the North Korean “supporters”, honestly I think they are setting a wonderful example to all countries and everyone should adapt such stringent policies on uniforms for supporters and controlled cheering. Thank you for your thoughts.

      • Yang_li1765

        Walter Park. I am happy for North 'Korea' and like cheering but I am not like for police or uniforms unless the need to. Football is a game for fun and to escape. Not be angered by police and other people who want to stop people based on the colour, ethnic, or hunger country.

  • fansfromchina

    Around 1000 tickets were transferred to China from North korea because China fails to enter world cup and had inadequate alloted tickets from fifa but with too many fans who are eager to go to south africa. So the tickets went to China by a travel agency and were consumed in a second. As to why North Korean were willing to give up the tickets is another story.

  • fansfromchina

    Around 1000 tickets were transferred to China from North korea because China fails to enter world cup and had inadequate alloted tickets from fifa but with too many fans who are eager to go to south africa. So the tickets went to China by a travel agency and were consumed in a second. As to why North Korean were willing to give up the tickets is another story.